Interlocutors Now Talk Of 'azaadi' In Kashmir27 October 2010
The Economic Times
Srinagar: In what could invite fresh criticism, J&K interlocutors on Wednesday hinted at introducing amendments in the Indian Constitution to accommodate a discussion on the “ azaadi option” for Kashmir. “The Indian constitution is a beautiful document and there is room for modification with changing times and we can even recommend for the amendments in the Constitution to accommodate the discussions on the Kashmir issue and to find the solution to the problem in line with the aspirations of the Kashmiris...If there comes a time when all parties to the Kashmir issue decided on a solution, and that solution is not within Indian constitution, Indian Parliament can amend it,” Ms Radha Kumar, one of the three interlocutors, told reporters here at the end of a four-day visit to the Valley. While clarifying that this was only her “personal belief”, Ms Kumar said the Constitution had been amended more than 400 times and there is no harm if it is modified further to make it more accommodative. Incidentally, the government on Wednesday made light of Ms Kumar’s remarks on discussing “azaadi”, saying that azaadi may mean different things for different people. “If azaadi means discussing freedom from overbearing presence of security forces in civilian areas, what is the harm in discussing it,” asked a senior government official. Dileep Padgaonkar, elaborating on his suggestion to the students of J&K region to prepare a roadmap for azaadi, explained that “what we proposed in the Valley may be good for Kashmir and not good for people of Jammu or Leh”. “But, we want to take everyone along and keep in mind the viewpoints of all the three regions of Jammu and Kashmir and people of India,” Mr Padgaonkar said. “Next time when we come (to Kashmir), let us discuss azaadi and its economic and strategic implications. We have to discuss it threadbare. If this is your wish, we can discuss it,” Mr Padgaonkar had said. The head of the three-member panel, Dileep Padgoankar, while interacting with mediapersons in Jammu and Kashmir also wished to take leaders of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on board to find the permanent solution to the Kashmir issue.